The ensuing edition of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) will be unlike any of the four editions that have been played in the past. If the first three editions were short and played at break-neck speed, the fourth edition was longer than usual.
The fifth edition, however, will for the first time see two international breaks in the first half of the season. The first break will be from October 8 to October 16, while the second international break will occur between November 12 and 20.
The third and longest break will be when the Indian national team takes part in the Asian Cup 2019 in January.
The introduction of the international breaks is unusual for the ISL but has already found backing from India’s leading players, particularly Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
“I think it’s pretty normal all over the world. There is a break in winters. If you look at any other league, during the Christmas time there is a break. It can be an advantage for teams. If there are some things which need to be worked on, like extra tactics, it can be done (during this period),” stated Gurpreet at the Hero ISL Media Day in Bengaluru.
The Bengaluru and India custodian believes the two breaks in the first half of the season provides the team with ample opportunities to set the wrongs right, while also providing rest for weary players.
“It is a good opportunity for players to rest a bit after having almost played half of the league. The injured players have time to recover. It is something which is useful. If the league keeps getting longer every year, it is something which we can use to our advantage,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by his team-mate Dimas Delgado who believes the window needs to be utilized to the hilt by the club.
“Our staff is working on what we should do during the break. We have to make the most of the international break. We have to work harder during that time. We must also keep in mind where we are going at that point in the season, and make the most of the break,” said the Spanish midfielder.